Discussion Guide

DISCUSSION GUIDE

Spoiler Alert: Some of these questions may reveal the plot.

1. The Unforgiven is a story about guilt, memory and redemption. What does “redemption” mean in a modern, secular world? How is Peter finally redeemed?

2. The story suggests that there are layers to our memory, and that buried in those layers may be past traumas—“what others did to us, what we did to others,” says the mother superior. Would you rather uncover past traumas, or leave them buried? Why? What is to be gained? What is to be lost?

3. Father Scott counsels Peter to “forget this horrible night.” Do you agree with his counsel?

4. Peter’s therapist, Lucia, suggests that it might be better not to remember the past—“They may be sleeping demons. Much worse than dogs”—and says that it’s not necessary to remember the past in order to move on with one’s life. Do you agree or disagree?

5. Do you think that Peter has grown through this experience of remembering, and reclaiming, his past? If so, how?

6. The mother superior counsels that, after asking God’s forgiveness, one must forgive oneself. Is there a difference? If so, what’s the difference?

7. If you were Peter and now recalled what had happened at that camp, what would you do regarding Bill Dawson?

8. Peter tells his wife Megan that he still has a long way to go, and a lot of work to do. What do you think that work will be now that the past has become “un-buried” for him?

9. The postscript adds a new twist to the story. What do you think it means? What happened to Peter in the old cabin?